I Finally Get Half-Blood Prince!! (Spoilers if you haven’t read the book.)

Yesterday my husband was asking me a question in the car about the movie Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince.  This of course got me rolling on all the things they changed/cut out/didn’t explain from the book.  So then DD#1 started asking questions about the whole thing, and we started discussing the identity of the Half-Blood Prince.  Then she kind of asked something about why the Half-Blood Prince is even important.  As I was explaining it to her, I FINALLY GOT IT!

I had always just thought of the book in terms of plot development:  learning of the horcruxes, romantic entanglements, and Dumbledore’s death.  And I guess I only thought about the Half-Blood Prince in that he is the one who kills Dumbledore in the end.  I totally did not get the deeper theme of the book.  I finally realized that the reason the book is titled around Snape is foreshadowing about the importance of Snape himself.

As usual Snape is Harry’s biggest present enemy in the book.  They are constantly nipping at each other with Snape, as the teacher, constantly getting the upperhand.  However, Harry thinks that the Half-Blood Prince who helps him with his potions class and teaches him all sorts of neat new spells is his new best friend.  Of course, he doesn’t realize that they are one in the same.  His enemy is his friend, and his friend is his enemy.  This just underscores Snape’s dual nature as double agent and villian/hero.  Just as the Half-Blood Prince has a darker side (as shown by sectum sempra) then logic would show that Snape himself has a hidden light as well.  And what about Snape’s pride in being a half-blood when he supposedly belongs to a group that values “pure blood”?  Perhaps this further goes to show that he is pretending to be something he is not when he is with the Death Eaters.  He is not a pure blood, so he is not a true Death Eater.

I pretty much suspected as soon as I finished the book the first time that Snape’s murder of Dumbledore and been prearranged between the two.  I never really contemplated the deeper meaning of the title, though, in relation to the book.  I don’t know why.  Maybe I was just to caught up in the progression of it all.  One of those things that I love about the HP series is that when you go back and reread it you see foreshadowing and symbolism that you never noticed the first time through.  Sometimes this is because you just missed it in the action, and sometimes because it didn’t have a context until you read the later books.  The complexity is one of the things that makes it so enthralling.  I just can’t believe it took me this long to really understand the significance of the Half-Blood Prince.  I just feel like smacking myself on the forehead and saying “Duh!”

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